In the last millennium, and particularly in the last century, realizing this role has proved to be a great challenge. Never in the history of mankind have we done so much, in so little time, to destroy the wonderful ecosystem that sustains us. The repercussions of our destructive action will be felt for generations to come. Indeed, it may take another millennium to put things right.
We celebrate World Environment Day in the knowledge that environmental issues are inextricably linked to those of peaceful coexistence, international cooperation and economic development.
Despite the great strides made in recognizing that development must coexist with the environment, we continue to search for economic progress in ways that erode the ecological foundations of our existence. Our very survival as a species may depend on our ability to reconcile technological progress with moral progress.
On this World Environment Day, and in this United Nations International Year for the Culture of Peace, let us resolve to take positive steps to fight the degradation of our environment. Let us combine our technological and creative skills with true wisdom, and reverse the trend of violence against nature and our fellow beings.
Otherwise, we may not have another thousand years to correct our mistakes.
Kofi A. Annan
Secretary-General of the United Nations
5 June 2000